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Language training abroad - why it's the best way to learn

Let’s be honest, language training abroad can seem an expensive way to learn or improve a language. Comparing the costs of taking an immersion course abroad to taking an evening class once a week, can on the surface seem shocking.

How to convince your company that you or your team will benefit from language training abroad

Convincing your boss that you should learn a language abroad, can as a result of these comparisons, be very difficult. However, as you know, to convince a boss, you just have to speak “their language”, and in this case, it is usually the language of cost-benefit. What are the costs of language training abroad, what are the benefits, and how do these costs-benefits compare to other ways of learning a language?

Popular ways of learning a language:

Before we look at the cost-benefits of learning a language abroad, let’s look at three popular ways of learning a language with a tutor. You can of course also use apps and other online tools these days, but for the purposes of this article we will compare tutor-led options:

  1. An evening class once a week: This language learning method is still as popular now as it was 50 years ago. You go to your local college, join a class with around 20 other students, and together you have fun learning and improving a language. No doubt your teacher will have experience of using the language to a high level and have decent knowledge of the culture and customs of the country. You will make friends with the group, who are likely all to live locally to you and be of the same nationality as you.

  2. Face-to-face and one-to-one lessons with a private tutor: These lessons are likely to happen at a time to suit you, and you will receive personal attention from your tutor. If you are lucky your tutor will be a native speaker, and possibly be willing to come to your own home. The progress will be at your pace, and the content of the course will be personally negotiated with you.

  3. On-line lessons via Skype or other media with a private tutor: These lessons are often very good value as there is no need for travel on either side. They are often run by large companies who have a large bank of tutors available, and so there is an element of flexibility. However users often complain that they are not given the same tutor twice and the tutors might not be native speakers of the language. 

So how does learning a language abroad compare to these options?

In order to get a full picture let’s look at the costs and benefits.

  • Cost: The cost per hour of learning a language abroad will be more expensive that an evening class or Skype training, however it will be comparable to face-to-face lessons with a private tutor. Normally a language course abroad will be at least one week long, and give you 30 hours of lessons in that week. If you divide the price of the course by the number of hours, you’ll notice that the price per hour is comparable to 1:1 lessons in your own country.

  • Benefits: The benefits of learning a language abroad are numerous and include the following:
    • You will be exposed to native speakers and natural native language 24/7, and as a result you will be speaking the language in no time.
    • You will get a greater understanding of the culture of the country, as well as family and business life.
    • You will acquire the language at a much faster rate than if you take an evening class once a week.
    • You will use the language immediately and put your learning into practice straight away as you will have opportunities to use the language immediately after class
    • You will soon find you are thinking in the language and processing the language intuitively, so that it becomes second nature.
    • Your boss will see value for money from this training investment the moment you go back to work.

In summary, language training abroad compares well to the other options. It's cost effective and an opportunity for teams to learn intensively and quickly.

Some people also view language training abroad as complimentary, not competitive, to learning a language in their own country. What we've also observed is that programmes such as ours are often sold as part of a blended learning package, including a range of language learning methods and solutions.

If you need further advice on how to select a language training experience abroad, please get in touch. We'd be very happy to talk you through how things work.

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